|Explores the cross-cultural endeavors of Rorty and Heidegger, particularly how this work addresses the possibilities of comparative philosophy itself.
Wei Zhang joins the ongoing hermeneutic quest for understanding and appropriating the East-West encounter and cross-cultural engagement by exploring Martin Heidegger’s and Richard Rorty’s cross-cultural encounters with Eastern thinkers. Zhang begins by examining Rorty’s correspondence with Indian philosopher Anindita N. Balslev, outlining their debate about the discipline of comparative philosophy and curriculum reform, as well as the nature or origin of philosophy itself. She then focuses on the dialogue between Heidegger and a Japanese professor concerning the nature of human language and discusses whether Heidegger’s view of language allows for a true understanding between East and West or whether it admits only misunderstanding and prejudice are possible. Finally, the author presents a conceptual dialogue with Heidegger’s primary text on hermeneutics and phenomenology, Ontology—The Hermeneutics of Facticity. Utilizing the dialogues and correspondence between Heidegger, Rorty, and the Eastern thinkers as textual examples, Zhang deconstructs and recovers layers of misconceptions of the various interpretations of the East-West encounter.
“Zhang Wei has written a compelling book.” — Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy
“A timely, intelligent comparison.” — Joan Stambaugh, translator of Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time: A Translation of Sein und Zeit
“The book tackles some of the most important issues in modern philosophy: ones concerning the possibility and conduct of comparative philosophy. As the world rushes toward becoming a global economic community, questions concerning cross-cultural study, communication, and understanding have taken on special significance. The processes of globalization promise much but present pressing social and political challenges as well. However, for reasons such as those detailed in this book, we have seen far too many scholars who have sat and scratched their heads, not only wondering where to begin but undermining the efforts of others by arguing against the very possibility of comparative philosophy.” — Douglas W. Shrader Jr., coauthor of Pathways to Philosophy: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Wei Zhang is Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at the University of South Florida.